How Long Do You Have to Respond to a Divorce Petition?

Hello everyone. It’s Chris, Pritt back again with a new topic in West Virginia divorce. Today, we’re going to be talking about how much time you have to file an answer to a divorce petition.

This is a common question I often get. So, whenever you receive the divorce petition, it’s going to typically be received by either certified mail or in person. you’re going to have something attached to it called the summons. On the summons, it will state specifically on there that you have 20 days from the date of receipt to go and file your answer. There are some caveats to that though that we’re going to talk about here.

One thing that often confuses people is whenever they get the divorce petition and the answer, they look at the date that it was filed. This leaves them sometimes concerned about the timeframe because they’re looking at the date where it was filled in the courthouse and they think, oh no, I have 20 days from that date to file the answer. That’s not true. The way it works is generally you have 20 days from the date that you received it to file your answer. Now, if the 20 days happen to fall on a weekend, then you don’t have to file it on Friday before. For example, let’s say it falls on a weekend and you know Monday is a holiday and it’s due on that date. What happens is you can file on the next business day where the courthouse is open. That’s the way the court system works when it comes to filing answers. So you have 20 days, but if the 20 days is on a weekend or a holiday then it is due on the next business day when the courthouse is going to be open.

There’s something else that you can sometimes do that will put it off for at least another 10 days. This is what we call filing a notice of bonafide defense. It’s usually better to do this if you have an attorney, because it’s a fairly technical thing that you can do. However, that is something you can do to delay it for another 10 days.

So those are some general points to remember when you get the divorce petition. Just whatever you do, don’t think that you necessarily have to file it from 20 days from when the divorce petition was filed, because sometimes it might be  20 days or more until you get the divorce petition. It might be that for whatever reason there was a delay in it going out. I’ve seen it be delayed up to a month or more in terms of you getting served. So just keep that in mind.

That consists of today’s topic. If you have any questions at all, feel free to give us a call at (304) 720 4412 or email us at CTA (1).png